Friday, September 25, 2015

'Hellevator' review: It's scary...Really, really scary

The logo for GSN's Hellevator, which premieres
October 21st.
Thanks to Game Show Network, we were sent a full episode of Hellevator. It was a rough cut, which means the 44-minute preview from today was not fully edited. According to the cover email, this is the premiere episode for Hellevator.

Before I actually get to the Hellevator review, I have to point out that I see a few distant similarities between the gameplay on Hellevator and the gameplay from GSN's The Chase. I point that out a few times during my review.

The entire show is based inside
"The Slaughterhouse", which is an
abandoned warehouse.
The episode opens up with three contestants walking into the "Slaughter House". Just a little over two minutes into the episode, Jen and Sylvia Soska, our hosts, come walking into the "Control Room". From here, they have all angles and communication with the three contestants. Jen and Sylvia also get to control the "toys" and noises throughout the "slaughterhouse".

For effect, prior to each challenge, a history lesson is given of a murderer and the story ties in with the upcoming contestant's challenge.

Photos of the "Slaughterhouse" and Hellevator set.
Each contestant has to get out of the "Hellevator" one by one. They enter the "Hellevator" in teams of three. When one is going through the challenge, the other two have full communication with the contestant by walkie-talkie. All three contestants at all times are given a walkie-talkie, even though if there are still three contestants remaining, there would have to be two in the "Hellevator".

The "Control Room", where the Soska sisters
enjoy the contestant's fear
The top prize is $50,000. It is split between only the surviving contestants who do not get defeated in their own challenge and make it to the end, just like on The Chase. Unlike The Chase, Hellevator is not all or nothing. If the remaining contestants do not win any money in the labyrinth, they keep the money won from earlier rounds. The first challenge is worth $5,000, the second is worth $10,000 and the third is worth $15,000. The last challenge, the "labyrinth" is worth $20,000. If the team completes all three challenges and the labyrinth, they win the grand prize of $50,000. Contestants can choose which one team member will take on each challenge.

The first challenge starts about ten minutes into the 44-minute episode. The contestants, Jen and Sylvia's intro, the "Hellevator", the description of the first challenge and one of the contestants wandering through the warehouse to physically get to the challenge fill the first ten minutes. All in all, the first ten minutes are not a drag at all.

The team of three contestants inside
the "Hellevator".
Challenges, in general will feature contestants having to pile organs or find keys to unlock themselves from chains in three to five minutes. In the allowed time, the contestant in the challenge has to complete the actual challenge and has to make it back to the "Hellevator". Jen and/or Sylvia, from the control room (so the contestants only hear their voice) give the instructions. 

One of the contestants has to leave the other
two to face a challenge
In one challenge, there are five coffins and five objects. There are five different bells with the coffins that match up with the same sounding bells with the objects. Jen and Sylvia, from the control room have the power to mess with the bells and ring more than one of them to distract the contestant. The contestant also needs to make it back to the Hellevator in the allowed time. If the contestant does make it back to the "Hellevator", he/she wins $5,000 for the team and will advance to the labyrinth.

In the "labyrinth", which is the final round, the remaining contestants (either one, two or three) will work together to win an additional $20,000. The eliminated contestant(s), if any, do not participate. 

A contestant realizes that there is a living,
screaming body inside a coffin.
A couple things I am critical about. For one, Jen and Sylvia Soska are not introduced. They walk into the control room and the vague graphic "@twistedtwins" is there, as if everyone has a twitter and everyone is suppose to know who Jen and Sylvia are. I didn't know the Soska duo before Hellevator, and I lot of people really did not in the horror world up until the past few years. The Soska sisters and the contestants do not use the best of grammar, but neither does a lot of television these days. Honestly, besides a good percentage of the GSN audience possibly too scared for Hellevator (or scary shows/movies in general), this is all I have to complain about for this episode.

Jen and Sylvia do carry Hellevator very well while the editing is near perfect. The back and forth between the contestants and our co-hosts are spot-on. It's great that Hellevator does not show Jen and Sylvia too much, because what viewers want to see is the horror and the contestants' reactions. The editing crew for Hellevator gets an A+ grade.

Jen and Sylvia Soska, the hosts of Hellevator,
get to watch everything and talk to the
contestants from the "control room".
On a very minor but fun, creative note: The floor numbers in the "Hellevator" as they go down are only negative numbers.

At this point, there is no opening theme for Hellevator. There is just the logo with a couple lighting effects in the background at the very beginning. However, this may change as the episode gets its final edits.

Jen and Sylvia root against the contestants.
To end, another similarity with The Chase: On The Chase, "The Beast" Mark Labbett roots against contestants. On Hellevator, Jen and Sylvia root against the contestants. In a challenge where a contestant has to do math, one of the Soska twins wonders if the contestant is good with math, while the other Soska twin says "I hope not."

Overall grade: A-

If you love horror, it's probably an A+. If you love traditional game shows and refuse to watch anything modern, new or different than classic Pyramid, than you will probably give it a failing grade. For what GSN is trying to accomplish with Hellevator, this pilot gets a high grade. Hellevator is definitely worth a try whether if you are a game show fan or a horror fan.

Hellevator premieres Wednesday, October 21st at 8pm ET on GSN.


  1. So this is somewhat The Chase: Horror Edition. This somewhat reminds me of that movie Saw where the antagonist gives the players time to get out of a sticky situation or else they died. Of course that won't happen here, but I would love to see what would happen to the contestant if they get eliminated. I think this will be a success for GSN and have better ratings than Steampunkd.

    BTW Scott, I gave Steampunkd its own bomb put name. The name is on the comment I posted in your ratings post.

  2. Sir you wrote a lot of words up there.

  3. "I think this will be a success for GSN and have better ratings than Steampunkd."

    I see Hellevator starting out strong (and of course stronger than Steampunk'd, because almost anything in GSN primetime, pre/post primetime does better than Steampunk'd) but will be very curious to see what happens with Hellevator ratings as the eight episode run goes on.

    "BTW Scott, I gave Steampunkd its own bomb put name. The name is on the comment I posted in your ratings post."

    I saw it. Between your Lie Destinkors and now Steamstunk'd, you should be paid somewhere for names like those ;)

    1. I think the first two episodes will do well since right around the time, Halloween is right around the corner. I'll be interesting to see how it performs in November. Because people will get ready for Thanksgiving and even Christmas, but then again it can still do well.

    2. Should be paid for names like those?? Get real!! Those are bad puns that aren't that complicated. Anyone could have thought of those, but I am sure just didn't bother to type them because they're seriously not that funny. No offense meant, but those aren't that funny.

  4. ill watch this show 5 minutes i go to a knife sharpening convention with lorena bobbitt

  5. This sounds like something more viewer appropriate for the Syfy channel than GSN.
    Rerun value is next to nothing unless they have a Halloween marathon for it.
    Once November 1st hits, this show will be an afterthought.

    1. True, Hellevator would do better on the SyFy channel. I understand the reputation for game shows on cable outside of GSN is not great. If Hellevator were produced on SyFy, maybe there would be less of a game show element.

      Rerun value for Hellevator would be better than Skin Wars and definitely better than Steampunk'd. Hellevator is just episode to episode, while with Skin Wars and Steampunk'd, the viewer has to follow an entire season. If Hellevator has as much success as The Chase, I think Hellevator's rerun success could be as successful as The Chase.

      People keep saying this about "after Halloween". I really do not know if Hellevator will demise just because it's after Halloween. If enough of the audience likes it, I believe they will stay in tune for the remainder of the series. If Hellevator ratings do fall, I don't think it would be just because of the calendar year. It may be too scary, not for the GSN audience, etc.

    2. Actually, I might have to change my mind about Hellevator's rerun value. I think if Hellevator's audience is mainly outside of GSN, which is what the goal of Hellevator is (to bring in that outside audience), then all reruns of Hellevator may do poorly. The Hellevator audience will only tune in at the time of new runs because that is the advertised timeslot: Wednesday nights. Whereas, The Chase fits in very well with GSN's audience and reruns work wherever because it is a game show after all.

      I just am really confused with how Hellevator will perform, but I'm pretty sure it will not be a long-run success for GSN.

  6. Hey guys you should see the complaints about this upcoming show on GSN's official Facebook page, these guy are really not happy about this show either.

  7. Wow, thanks for pointing the Facebook comments out. I did not see one positive comment about Hellevator. They're really complaining about the on-air advertisements.

    I also do not know what is worse on the GSN Facebook page: The complaints against Man Versus Fly, the complaints against Steampunk'd or the complaints against Hellevator. It's complaining all over.

    1. GSN needs to just dump all this doo-doo they keep cranking out and focus on GAME shows.

    2. I know this may sound like a stupid idea (and its probably not going to happen in the future) but maybe its time to send some old GSN ads (pre 2004) from a Broadcasting & Cable Magazine via E-Mail or send it as a letter to their office in order to say to them "GSN this is what you use to be and now look what you become" sort of thing in order to snap them back into common sense mode.

      P.S. your welcome about the Facebook reminder Scott but it was nothing really.

    3. "P.S. your welcome about the Facebook reminder Scott but it was nothing really."

      Thank you for the heads up. Every now and then I do a twitter search and visit GSN's Facebook page to see what posters are saying there about the network. I just haven't gotten around to it lately.

      Thank you again. I actually made it post-worthy, as you will see today.

    4. Again Scott I do appreciate your compliment but it was really nothing.

      However, I wonder which anti-GSN host is more scarier: Jen an Sylvia Soska or The Inquizitor?

    5. I still cannot believe we don't know who The Inquizitor is.

      The Inquizitor was scarier. At least we can see Jen and Sylvia.

    6. The Inquizitor is a faceless guy who hosted the former GSN original show Inquizition from 1998 until 2001.

      Think of him Scott, as a male Anne Robinson without a face before Anne Robinson.

  8. I always prefer taking the stairs over elevators anyway, unless there aren't any stairs at all. Just don't like the idea of being stuck in an elevator for hours, waiting for a repair crew to come by.

    Anyways, about the show... it does seem more like something Syfy or Chiller would get, especially with all their showings of Paranormal Activity and Ghost Hunters, but they went with Geeks Who Drink instead... and I bet a lot of Syfy execs are drinking right now to ease the pain with the poor ratings it's getting...

    Hellevator is an interesting idea. As long as GSN bleeps out the profanity the contestants will be yelling, I'm fine with it. It's still a game show, with elements of reality programming incorporated into it. Not any different from Fear Factor or Wipeout or Bullseye.

    1. Scott, it may have been a coincidence but within a couple hours of watching the Hellevator premiere Friday night, I had to travel in an elevator with two other people to a dark basement in a building I'm not familiar with. We had to get a table and bring it back up is all

      But in that situation, I wish I took the stairs. It was scary and dark, and I just had watched Hellevator to make it worse.

  9. Love The Chase. Hate horror. By running things like this GEN is alienating viewers.This show belongs on Chiller. SyFy would probably not do it. They had a show Total Blackout in 2012. It only ran for 2 seasons.

  10. This maybe the TABC of horror games for cable. So many people will check it out,that the ratings will be too high and slowly trail off, once the hype GSN built dies down.

    1. I've thought of Hellevator debuting to huge numbers just because it is something completely different.

      At the same time, American Bible Challenge had Foxworthy as host, while I don't believe anyone on Hellevator (even Jason Blum) is that well known.

      I'm also starting to have more doubts about Hellevator based on the timeslot GSN has put it in. 8pm? That's suppose to be a family hour and nothing scary there yet. 10pm would have been a better timeslot for Hellevator. That's a concern.

  11. This is one of the worst, un-scary shows out there. The two girls are monotone and boring. The fact anyone would be scared in a situation like this only shows the level of intelligence the contestants have. This show reminds me of paranormal activity. Its not scary and each one gets worse. I have never hated a show or people on the show more than this. I can promise it will def be canceled

  12. Worst show ever made. hands down.